tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC January 31, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
from the muslim ban problem? >> well, it doesn't security. >> yamiche, gene, well said and understated, ed bro, thank you. stay with us, donald trump about to announce the appointment of the supreme court associate justice and chris hayes picks coverage up right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. minutes from now donald trump will perform one of the most solemn constitutional duties assigned to the president of the united states nominating a justice to the u.s. supreme court. borrowing from his previous career as reality tv host, the president has narrow it had list of candidates down to two finalists. both were allegedly summoned to the white house to ensure maximum secrecy but we're learning both men did not go to washington tonight. it will be the second time a president has nominated someone to fill this particular seat on the court after the sudden death of justice antonin scalia exactly 352 days ago.
senate republicans vowed to block anyone president barack obama chose to succeed him and that's what they did, refusing to hold a confirmation hearing for supreme court nominee judge merrick garland. it worked and now there's a republican in the white house. joining me from the east room where president trump will announce his choice, msnbc national correspondent peter alexander. give me a sense of what it's like. >> we got the two-minutetelepro. this room is filled with republicans right now, the leadership is here. also donald trump's inner circle, steve bannon, reince priebus, kellyanne conway, all in this room. in addition what's notable is his two adult sons don, jr., and eric trump are also in this room. this is an announcement that has been heavily filled with suspense. remember when the announcement of the vice presidential pick back in the day came out? we found out on thursday who it would be but it got delayed. they've been much more disciplined this time around.
>> and we'll now listen to the president of the united states introduce his first supreme court pick to fill the seat of antonin scalia. this is the second individual who will be nominated for that seat. the first, merrick garland, who never got a hearing. let's listen to the president. >> thank you. thank you very much. [ applause ] thank you. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. when justice scalia passed away suddenly last february i made a promise to the american people, if i were elected president i would find the very best judge in the country for the supreme court. i promised to select someone who respects our laws and is representative of our
constitution and who loves our constitution and someone who will interpret them as written. this may be the most transparent judicial selection process in history. months ago as a candidate i publicly presented a list of brilliant and established people to the american electorate and pledged to make my choice from among that list. millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president. i am a man of my word. i will do as i say, something that the american people have been asking for from washington for a very, very long time. [ applause ]
thank you. today i'm keeping another promise to the american people by nominating judge neil gorsuch of the united states supreme court to be of the united states supreme court and i would like to ask judge gorsuch and his wonderful wife louise to please step forward please louise, judge. here they come. here they come. [ applause ] so was that a surprise? was it?
[ applause ] i have always neat after the defense of our nation the most important decision a president of the united states can make is the appointment of a supreme court justice. depending on their age, a justice can be active for 50 years and his or her decisions can last a century or more and can often be permanent. i took the task of this nomination very seriously. i have selected an individual whose qualities define really and i mean closely define what we're looking for. judge gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.
when he was put on the court of appeals he was confirmed unanimously. that's unanimously. can you believe now days with what's going on? [ applause ] does that happen any more? does it happen? i think it's going to happen maybe again. also with us tonight is maureen scalia, a woman loved by her husband and deeply respected by all. i am so happy she is with us. where is maureen? please stand up. thank you, maureen. [ applause [ applause ] thank you, maureen. she is really the ultimate representative of the lathe great justice antonin scalia whose image and genius was in my mind throughout the decision-making process.
not only are we looking at the writings of the nominee and i studied them closely but he is said to be among the finest and most brilliant often times the writings of any judge for a long, long time and his academic credential, something very important to me and this education has always been a priority are as good as i have ever seen. he received his undergraduate degree from columbia with honors. he then received his law degree from harvard, also with honors where he was a truman scholar. after harvard he received his doctorate at oxford where he attended as a marshall scholar, one of the top academic honors anywhere in the world. after law school he clerked on the supreme court for both justices byron white and anthony
kennedy. it is an extraordinary resume, as good as it gets. judge gorsuch was born and raised in colorado and was taught the value of independence, hard work, and public service. while in law school, he demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate. he worked in both harvard prison legal assistance projects and harvard defenders program. brilliance being assured, i studied every aspect of his life, he could have had any job at any law firm for any amount of money but what he wanted to do with his career was to be a judge, to write decisions and to make an impact by upholding our laws and our constitution the qualifications of judge gorsuch are beyond dispute. he's the man of our country and a man who our country really needs and needs badly to ensure the rule of law and the rule of
justice i would like to thank senate leadership. i only hope that both democrats and republicans can come together for once for the good of the country. congratulations to you and your family. may god bless you may god bless our glorious nation. judge gorsuch. the podium, sir, is yours. [ applause ] thank you. mr. president, thank you very much. mr. president, mr. vice
president, you and your team have shown me great courtesy in this process. and you've entrusted me with the most solemn assignment. standing here in a house of history and acutely aware of my own imperfections i pledge that if i am confirmed i will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitution and laws of this great country. for the last decade, i've worked as a federal judge in a court that spans six western states. serving about 20% of the continental united states and about 18 million people. the men and women i've worked with at every level in our circuit are an inspiration to me. i've watched them fearlessly tending to the rule of law, enforcing the promises of our constitution and living out daily their judicial oaths to administer justice equally to rich and poor alike. following the law as they find it and without respect to their personal political beliefs.
i think of them tonight. of course, the supreme court's work is vital not just to a region of the country but to the whole. vital to the protection of people's liberties under law and the continuity of our constitution the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever known. the towering judges that have served in this particular seat of the supreme court, including antonin scalia and robert jackson are much in my mind at this moment. justice scalia was a lion of the law. agree or disagree with him, all of his colleagues on the bench cherished his wisdom and his kn humor and like them i miss him. i began my legal career working for byron white, the last coloradoen to serve on the supreme court and the only justice to lead the nfl in rushing. [ laughter ] he was one of the smartest and
most courageous men i've ever known. when justice white retired he gave me the chance to work for justice kennedy as well. just kennedy was incredibly welcoming and grars and like justice white he taught me so much. i am forever grateful. and if you've ever met judge david sentell you'll know how lucky i was to land a clerkship with him right out of school. thank you. these judges brought me up in the law truly i would not be here without them. today is as much their day as it is mind. in the balance of my professional life i'ved that privilege of working as a practicing lawyer and teacher i've enjoyed wonderful colleagues whose support means so much to me at this moment. as it has year in and year out, practicing in the trial work trenches of the law i saw, too, that when we judges don our
robes it doesn't make us any smarter but it does serve as a reminder of what's expected of us -- impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage. as this process now moves to the senate, i look forward to speaking with members from both sides of the aisle to answering their questions and hearing their concerns. i consider the united states senate the greatest deliberative body in the world and i respect the important role the constitution affords in the the confirmation of our judges. i respect, too, the fact that in our legal order it is for congress and not the courts to write new laws. it is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people's representatives. a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands. i am so thankful tonight for my
family, my friends, and my faith. these are the things that keep me grounded at life'seaks and that sustain me in its valleys. to lose, my incredible wife and companion of 20 years, my cherished daughters who are watching on tv and all my family and friends i cannot thank you enough for your love and for your prayers. i could not attempt this without you. mr. president, i am honored and i am humbled. thank you very much. [ applause ] [ applause ]
the all right, that is the east room of the white house where president trump has just announced his nominee for vacancy on the supreme court left by the death of antonin scalia nearly a year ago. judge neil gorsuch of the 10th circuit. he's an appellate judge, he's young, 49 years old. here to talk a bit more about the selection, i'm joined by msnbc chief legal correspondent ari melber, my friend and colleague host of "hardball" chris matthews. ari, let me start with you for a bit of a rundown. this is someone who's been dividing things that trump has done into the first ten days until only trump and you could have seen something like this from president rubio or cruz. which seems gorsuch is in that latter category. this is someone who in any republican administration would have been near the top of the list. >> i think that's right. that's true on substance and style. there's a saying in legal circles "don't believe the hype" and there was a ton of hype in
the runup to this event. don't believe it. what we just witnessed was a very traditional rollout of a supreme court name. the president's remarks were brief, especially for this president. the judge's remarks were brief and elegant and broad but we didn't learn anything, you're not supposed to. as for who is judge gorsuch, this is someone on the right of center in conservative legal thought but is also seen as anally lean intellectual and gun rights. he's pro-gun rights and religious freedom, being very skeptical of obamacare and religious adherence and religious company. >> he wrote a concurring opinion in the hobby lobby case when it came through his circuit which is one of the more controversial cases he has been around. he hasn't been around as many as perhaps other judges being considered? >> right, which is what makes him so attractive to conservatives in addition to his young age. you are looking at a sterling conservative jurist who could be on the court for 30, 35 years.
think about that. but in hobby lobby he became animated in that and the little sisters of the poor case writing dramatically, judges say they only deal with the facts in front of them but when you read their opinions you can usually tell what they care more about and i would say his legal reasoning in that case was elegant, strong, and well-supported but his animating principle was not about the people who didn't have health care or trying to get it or people who can't afford it, problems we talk about in the health care debate. he was saying he was very worried the government was going to make people who were religious about contraception break their own rules and that would be wrong. a couple other highlights, he's been pro-police in cases alleging police brutality. that's not unusual among judge in either party but it's notable when we've talked about policing. he is pro rights in the context of unreasonable searches. he has been skeptical of some executive power. i know you know a lot about chevron deference. most people don't know about that term but we'll hear it.
he's basically concerned he says the government has too much power at the agency level. think about a week where we've talked about how does dhs use authority? he's been skeptical of that. but the headline, scalia, he's given tribute to him. he says the scalia way is the correct way. >> ari melber, thank you for that. still with me is chris matthews. this seems very transactional in this sense. it always seemed it was very clear almost -- the president talked about transparent. it was a transparent bargain in which donald trump said look, i don't really feel strongly or invested in this area. i know you guys -- meaning the institutional republican party -- really care. so basically give me names and i'll give you what you want and that's what we saw tonight. >> that's true on the social issues position. no one believes deep down donald trump is pro-life in terms of the law or banning abortion, for example but i think a lot of it has been channeling scalia.
i think judge gorsuch sounded like scalia talking about i like law, i don't like to have the kind of decision reinterpreted like we did with the case of kansas -- the first case back in '54 and all the other cases since about public school prayer and abortion rights and the lawrence case, a lot of those are landmark cases that involve looking and finding something in the constitution in terms of our rights that wasn't seen before, it was inherent but it was there. i think this is going to come down, chris, to a sad denouement. i think it's going to take 60 votes to get this approved and i think the republicans will have their rank-and-file 52 votes will be there. but i don't think the democrats are going to give them a single vote which mean this is will go to a filibuster and then -- and i hate to cut to the chase but i will -- it's going to be up to mitch mcconnell. he's going to have to choose between something he deeply believes in. he really believes as an institutionalist in the senate the need to make the senate
different than the house, to have a filibuster requirement of 60 votes that keeps it from being too extreme in either direction, requiring cabinet members, everybody has to go through the 60-vote requirement, that threshold. he's not going to give that away easily. trump says he will but i don't think mitch mcconnell will so it will be mitch mcconnell making a decision, do i give up the filibuster rule which requires 60 votes to get something through if that means giving up something i believe in. i don't think he'll do it. mitch mcconnell will hold fast and say it will be 60 votes. this guy is probably a good guy very much like antonin scalia a good person whatever you think of him politically and ideologically and i don't think it will get through because i don't think they'll get 60 votes because i don't think they'll get a single democratic vote, chris. not a one. this country is so polarized now. you know it as well as i do. look at the devos nomination. you can see united party fronts on this kind of vote, these ideological votes. >> that's a great point and i
basically think that's the tenor of things the. "new york times" ran a piece with some behind-the-scenes questioning of democrats about whether they were going to apply the filibuster but you're right and once interest groups and grass-roots organizers mobilize. as we're speaking there's possibly a thousand people outside chuck schumer's home in brooyn with bullhorns and signs basically saying do not give anyone no matter who a single vote. that is the demand being made upon democratic politicians right now. >> and you can hear their choices changing overnight. schumer will go -- we know he's a deal maker, a governing party democrat. he's not a protester, he believes in government and getting deals through and passing legislation and that requires tradeoff yet you sense him signaling to the progressive wing of the party, the more left of the party that are more agitated that i'll obey your thinking. it's a difficult time for the
opposition but the progressive side has the upper hand and they're warning moderates like joe manchin and heitkamp, be careful because we want to be a strong opposition here. >> we should note harry reid has gotten rid of the filibuster for cabinet nominees and lower court judges but preserved it, crucially to your point, which i think is key to understand how monumental it will be. even though he got rid of the filibuster threshold for those other nominees it was preserved for the supreme court. so if mitch mcconnell were to be the one to strike that, that would be the last straw. it would be hard to imagine any full buster will last very long. >> we still have the filibuster for reconciliation but the key thing here is the guy is 49. gorsuch, he's probably a good guy. i really liked the company of scalia. he's a very family minded guy and a way of looking at life generally. but for 49, that means he'll be on the court for 30 years,
anybody, the life in politics today, they will have to answer for this guy. can you imagine, a democrat, i don't care if you're from alaska or north dakota, you'll have to answer for almost a true lifetime multigenerational career on the court. every ruling this guy gorsuch makes is a decisive vote in in any way influences your belief about citizens united, bors rig -- abortion, equality of marriage, gun rights, every time he votes the wrong way it will be on you so i'm not encouraging these guys to think left and think future but they are dam well going to do it. they're thinking about their own futures and you don't want to have a notch on your belt that says "i voted for gorsuch." so it's 52 votes maximum. we'll have a real fight over that 60-vote threshold. >> chris matthews, thank you for sticking around. i'm going to go to hallie jackson who has with her i believe senator lindsey graham. >> he's threatening to do a
joint interview if we don't get t to him now. you just watched judge neil gorsuch revealed in -- >> dramatic fashion. >> did you think it was suspe e suspenseful and draw matic. >> it's hard to keep things secret but a great choice. i don't think anybody can argue with the guy's qualifications. >> so you think he's qualified. what happens next given the battle he surely faces in the senate? >> he's going to get confirmed, just a matter of when and how. to my democratic friends i voted for sotomayor and kagan, i thought they were qualified. this whole thing about merrick garland, i don't buy it. if i thought it was unfair i would have done something different. in the last year of the presidency the nominating process was already afoot so we said wait to the next president. most people thought it was going to be clinton including me and i didn't vote for trump but he deserves this pick and he's going to get confirmed. he'll be a great justice. >> do you support a nuclear option if it were to come to that in the senate? >> it would be sad to me if we have to go that route with a man
like this but he's going to get confirmed. i've took a lot of crap voting for obama's judges. i thought they were qualified. i've tried to be fair to everybody the best i know how to be. i didn't think garland should have been picked in the last year of obama's term after we started the primary process so if that's the argument it's very unpersuasive. this president won, he deserves the right to pick qualified people and this is one of the most qualified people i've ever met so time will tell. >> forgive me for not knowing this prior to this. have you had a relationship with neil gorsuch prior to today? >> i'm mucho happy about this pick. >> were you in the loop before today? >> i found out about 45 minutes before it happened but neil worked in the department of justice and we worked on detainee issues in the bush administration and he was a fair broker on the detainee treatment act when we were trying to outlaw waterboarding and this guy is a very reasoned person.
he was a good steady hand during an emotional time so i know him. i've seen him in action and he's got the perfect disposition and i don't say -- nobody can say he's not qualified. >> apologies to folks walking in front of the camera here. before i let you go i have to ask you about the other big story that is last night the firing of acting attorney general sally yates. there are questions given other things that have happened in the administration over the last 24 hours about how president trump tolerates dissent and differing opinions in that administration. is that troubling to you? >> i don't fault him for asking her to leave if she couldn't do her job. she was going to leave anyway. she was an obama pick so at the end of the day my problem with the executive order is it's too broad. i've been a big critic of the executive order but he has the right to have people in his administration that he picks. she wasn't picked by him. >> he's been critical of you in the past. does he take your advice now? >> i don't know, but they're
learning the ropes. i got a call about an executive order on cyber security. i'm here tonight. i want to help this president but i'm not afraid to say i disagree. if i have any charm, it's being me. the executive order, i support the idea of a time out in these seven countries but the way they did it, they took people who already had a visa, green card holders and basically turned their life upside down. that's not right and it will get fixed. >> senator lindsey graham, thank you so much for joining us live amidst the sort of hustle and bustle of the east room here in the white house. guys, back to you. >> thank you, hale hallie. joining me now, congressman mo brooks. you describe yourself as pro-life and the president did something a lot of candidate haven't done before which the president announced multiple times a litmus test for this justice, that they would be an opponent of abortion, they would be pro life. he said it about five or six times. are you confident that this
nominee meets that litmus test? >> well, first, my preference initially was bill pryor from the state of alabama but not getting bill pryor, i'm very happy with judge gorsuch. everything i've read about him is that he's highly qualified and is an excellent individual. with respect to the abortion issue, ain't judge on the supreme court who is going to read the constitution and apply the constitution and not try to create law that is not in the constitution and i think that's where the pro-life issue comes into play because if you properly read the constitution then you naturally fall down on the pro-life side of that particular issue and i believe judge gorsuch is right there where he should be. >> respectfully, congressman, i think that everyone thinks that if you properly read the constitution you come to their conclusio conclusion. >> am i supposed to respond to that in some fashion? that's a truism. >> the point being this promise
was explicit. the promise was made on the campaign trail explicitly by the president and folks le yourself and there are people in the pro-life movement who are nervous. they were nervous about souter. there's always a worry you're going to get someone who will be the person that gives you the vote on overturning "roe" and then it slips out of your hands. my sense is that the president and people around have done everything in their power to communicate to people like yourself who care deeply about this issue that that won't be the case this time. >> i want someone who will read the constitution and apply it as is written looking at the original intent of the founders of this country or over the centuries the people who wrote the amendments to the constitution. similarly, ain't judge, now a justice, who will look at the law as it was written, look at the congressional testimony to help interpret the law and apply it as it was intended. and if a law needs to be changed
it ought to be done through the republic way of doing things, that's through congress, the lawmaker. the judges and the supreme court, they are supposed to be the applicators of the law with the executive branch being the administers of the law so we can agree or disagree on the abortion issue. i am pro-life and i believe that those justices who are pro-life reason well but ultimately it comes down to who was elected president of the united states and who has the right to nominate people. in this particular instance under the constitution you have ld trump who is now the president of the united states and he is keeping a camign promise and i'm very proud of him for having done so. >> congressman mo brooks, appreciate your time tonight. >> thank you, chris. >> joining me now is danielle gray. danielle gray is someone who knows a thing or two about this process. she worked on judicial nominations with barack obama when the former president nominated elena kagan and sonia sotomayor to the supreme court. i want to start here. you clerked for merrick garland.
what -- do you think he's watching this right now? what is this like for him? >> i hope he is not watching it. this is -- in some sense what we saw tonight is very traditional. an east room announcement of a supreme court justice. the president's supreme courters and the crowd cheering but it's important to remember that what happened here is not normal or usual at all. and the vacancy that judge gorsuch is being nominated to fill arose in february of last year so we're talking about over a year ago. we're talking about a process where you had an indisputably qualified nominee wait over 300 days, not receive the decency of courtesy visits from everyone, not receive the hearing that is ordinarily afforded to nominees and so in many ways tonight looks similar to what we've seen
in past announcements but this is not a formal situation. >> and i think there's a relationship between that and this nomination, obviously a direct one, but also in the calculation of all this, right? there's similarities between merrick garland and gorsuch in this respect. they're the kinds of people that get nominated to be on the supreme court. when people say they're qualified, these are individuals with sterling academic credentials, they have the best clerkships, their legal reasoning and writing is admired across the aisle. that's a fair characterization for gorsuch and garland. >> absolutely. >> at a certain point that didn't matter with garland. the calculation was made that republicans essentially invented an eighth-year rule to block it and it seems to present a precedent for democrats to basically use that as okay, this is -- basically all bets are off. >> listen i think that the -- judge gorsuch certainly that has traditional markers of a supreme court nominee -- the ivy league
education. a lotz of people thought the president would look for someone who maybe went to a state law school or some school that was outside of the ivy league. the fancy clerkships. the court law firm partnerships. in many ways he resembles chief justice roberts, chief judge garland but a lot of what this process is going to be about is moving beyond some of those superficial markers of credentials and taking a hard look and with this particular nominee there are things to look at. he's been a judge for over a decade. he's written a range of opinions, you mentioned some of his opinions on women's health that will receive some scrutiny. he's written a book about physician-assisted suicide and people will probably read that closely to see if they can gather what he thinks about issues like a woman's right to choose but most notably the
thing that keeps coming up when people are talking about him is that he is in the mold of justice scalia and that is because he has written, given a number of speeches where he's talked about his approach to the constitution, how he goes about interpreting it and i think that will be something people take a close look at. >> you made one point and i want to return to this. this is a president who in his first 11 days has conducted himself quite differently than past presidents have. there's been this kind of total upending of things. total disruption. not using the interagency process, putting his political adviser on the national security council. issuing the succession of executive orders. doing things in no ways that have reverberated. everything about this was done in the most traditional way almost as if it was outsourced to the establishment in terms of the person who ran against that blachement to basically be like i know this is a good thing for you guys on the establishment, get an establishment pick and i'll put him on the court. >> the president, he said
tonight, he made no -- had no reservations about advertising that fact tonight. it was unprecedented what he did in terms of the campaign in terms of saying i'm going to develop a list, work with the federalist society, the heritage foundation and i'm going to let you hold me to account for picking that list. it's been well publicized this process for him he's had a lot of outside assistance. >> my understanding is that it's largely been run by the federalist society and folks outside it who have been the channel from the beginning for the process. >> yeah. the president said during his campaign, you know, to the extent he had criteria he said he didn't want somebody who was weak, that was a quote. he was highly critical of chief justice roberts and his decision to uphold the affordable care act and he made very clear he thought this was something important to h voters and i
think part of the test for democrats going forward is to determine, you know, is judge gorsuch the kind of nominee that's going to believe in limits on presidential power and executive power? i'm sure that will be a topic in the hearings. >> daniel gray, thank you very much for your time. >> thanks for having me. >> we're getting reaction from the nomination that just happened. senator patrick leahy on the senate judiciary committee releasing a statement that reads in part "in light of the unconstitutional actions of our new president in just his first week, the senate owes the american people a thorough unsparing examination of this nomination. i hope president trump will work in a bipartisan way to pick a mainstream nominee like merrick garland and bring the country together instead he outsourced this process to far right interest groups. there's no -- this is no way to treat a co-equal branch of government or protect the independence of our federal judiciary." joining me, senator debbie stab now -- stabenow who is boycotting
the confirmation hearings as tom price as hhs secretary and steve mnuchin as treasury secretary. i want to ask you but first i want to start with this pick because the two relate. senator claire mccaskell, they said we should have a full confirmation hearing on a vote for the supreme court which would preclude a filibuster. are you precluding the filibuster? >> no, chris. let's start with the fact that all of president obama's supreme court nominees were voted in with over 60 votes and so from my standpoint we need to have a 60-vote threshold just to make sure the person is mainstream. this is the highest court in the land, it affects every man, woman, child, working people, every community that i represent, every family in michigan so i want to see a 60-vote threshold because i think that's what it deserves. >> i want to be clear. a 60-vote threshold, you're saying it should be filibustered
as a matter of principle because the heightened threshold will ensure the level of scrutiny you think necessary for the stakes of a seat like this. >> when we change the rules or had to change the rules in order to make sure the president actually got his cabinet because of all of the obstruction going on we purposefully did not change the threshold for the highest court in the land, the supreme court, because this is the place where people need to come together, you need to have a mainstream pick, this is about somebody who will uphold the constitution and not be ideologically extreme one way or the other and you do that with 60 votes so that's where i'm coming from. i have great concerns about this nominee. i'll listen, i'll meet with him. the cases i've seen that he has ruled on i'm very concerned about but i think the biggest thing is that it needs to be a coming together and you do that with 60 votes.
>> you and your colleagues today. there was a remarkable moment in the finance committee, two nominees, steve mnuchin and tom price, tom price for hhs, a member of the house of representatives, also a doctor and steve mnuchin who is at goldman sachs and a hedge fund and treasury. you and your colleagues essentially boycotted the committee vote for those two individuals. there was tremendous frustration expressed by chair orrin hatch who i -- and i think i'm getting this right -- used the word idiots to refer to what was happening? or idiotic? >> not sure. >> what happened? >> well, chris, late last night we had new information that was revealed through a "wall street journal" article that when tom price came before our committee we already were concerned because he had bought stock in health care companies in medical device companies and so on while also puttsing in legislation to
help those companies but when we asked him he said he had not gotten any special treatment. he had bought the stock at the same price as everybody else, fair market value. last night the company that sold him the stock said not true. he got a special deal, we believe he ought to have to come back to the committee and respond to that, same thing with mr. mnuchin. there were a number of situations, including when we asked about the fact that his bank was one of the largest foreclosures, they called them foreclosure king back during the height of the financial crisis, the housing crisis, he said they did not do what's called robosigning where you don't read any of the papers, you just auto pen sign everything. and over the weekend there was a major story in ohio that, in fact, in ohio they can prove now that they were doing what was illegal, in fact, some judges
said that they would not allow the foreclosures to go through and there's more. >> so you have outstanding testimony from both these nominees said to you in the hearing room in which they denied things which later reporting has shown that denial was inaccurate, not true. >> exactly. >> and my understanding is you're boycotting pending new testimony for them to clarify what seems to be a discrepancy between what they told you to your faces and what we know the facts to be. >> absolutely. at some point it has to matter, right? these two nominees, treasury secretary, not only the whole economy and housing but social security, you could go on and on. tom price, medicare, social security, health care, all of those things, it has to matter, they have to tell the truth. the truth matters so we said we've had it. we want them to congress back and have to tell us the truth. >> senator debbie stabenow, thank you for your time tonight,
appreciate it. >> thanks. we're getting reaction to this. you saw essentially large unanimously acclimation for the republican side. we're getting reaction from democrats, strong words from chuck schumer on the president's nomination of neil gorsuch charging the new administration as "violating our core values and tested the fabric of our constitution in an unprecedented fashion." senator schumer released a statement that said "the senate must insist upon 60 votes for any supreme court nominee, a bar that was met by each of president obama's nominees, the burden is on judge neil gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and in this new era willing to vigorously defend the constitution from the abuses of the executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all americans. given his record i have serious doubts about judge gorsuch's ability to meet this standard." joining us now, kelly o'donnell. what's the scene like outside the court tonight?
>> reporter: good to be with you. we have been here since before the announcement was made by president trump and there have been two waves of protesters. at first moments after neil gorsuch's name was announced there were a small group of demonstrators who were praying and were advocating for the overturning of roe v. wade. there was some real sparring back and forth verbally from that group and then another group that's come in. so now we have a lot of supporters of trying to see this nomination now defeated. they're upset about president trump. we'll give them a moment, give you a sense of the sort of cadence of what's happening here. >> hey, hey, ho, ho! got to go. >> chris, you may notice that in addition to people coming out to express their own views there are some preprepared signs that have neil gorsuch's name and those were ready to go. also the resist sort of hashtag
that has become a big part of the progressive movement since donald trump was sworn into office. so i've been out on the steps of the supreme court for a couple different demonstrations and this is smaller in size, it's late in the evening but they have a heart for what they are saying and there has been a continuous chanting, singing, praying, expression of people's view which is do compete out here on the steps of the supreme court since this announcement came through. so there were a couple times where it got tense but not beyond what is the normal expression of people's views but at this point it is predominated by opponents of donald trump and those who are concerned about this addition to the court. chris? >> kelly o'donnell. thank you very much. joining me to discuss tonight's announcement as well as the rule of law in the trump administration, john dean, former white house counsel to president nixon. john, i wanted to have you on because tonight's announcement comes in the context of sort of a remarkable several days in
which the president issued an executive order and overruled one of the relevant agencies on interpretation of that order. he's struck down or enjoined by four different federal judges using fairly harsh language then the acting attorney general, sally yates, said she would not enforce this executive order because she was not persuaded it was legal. he fired her and this is the statement from the white house and i want your reaction. >> "the acting attorney general sally yates has betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the u.s. this order wiz approved as to form and legality by the department of justice office of legal counsel." ms. yates is an obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration." have you ever heard of something like that? >> no. usually they're set off with no statement or a quiet statement
that doesn't try to attack them. i've never seen an attack statement. more like a bunch of tweets tossed together rather than the dignity that typically follows a white house statement. >> it seems the lass few days have been a beginning of a stress test for american constitutional institutions and limits on the executive and whether those limits will be adhered to and there's a few present places you can imagine the limits happening, article three federal injury dish area, is is the court likely to see this executive order before gorsuch gets a hearing or a voice. another place is the department of justice and people were talking about the famous saturday night massacre during your time when you were white house counsel to nixon in which nixon discharged archibald cox for defiance, abolished the watergate task force. do you think that's a fair comparison to what happened? >> well, it's very different.
what it is is trump's firing of the attorney general here is very nixonian in style. the substance is very different from what happened back in october of '73 when that happened and what happened is that nixon was in a lot of trouble. he didn't want the special prosecutor to go forward and seek more tapes. i at that time agreed to cooperate with cox and help him with the prosecution so i followed this very closely and it was very dramatic at the time, it was almost one of those things whenever broadcast was interrupted and you could find of listen to hear if there were boots marching in the street. it was very spooky. this is just a stylistic very abrupt -- >> and yet there is a kind of principle here which we're going to see which is that under the constitution the department of justice is part of the executive in some sort of constitutional sense you might imagine there
are some who argue the president can tell them to do whatever it wants but what has developed is this kind of independence and i thought this moment between jeff sessions and sally yates at her confirmation hearing spoke to that. i'd love to get your response to it if you think the view that sessions outlines here should be the view that sessions himself takes as a.g. if we he's confirmed and democrats and everyone else. take a listen. >> do you think the attorney general has a respond to say no to theresident if he asks for something that's improper? if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no? >> senator, that i believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the constitution and to give their independent legal advise to the president. >> what do you make of that? >> that's the answer he wanted to hear the question is whether he would answer the question himself the same way.
he will not forget his language, he'll be reminded of it many times when he is in the attorney general's office and has to make these kinds of decisions. what he's got to have is at least the independent to say no to the president, to tell him when he's wrong. john mitchell, the attorney general who got in such a bunch of trouble didn't have that. elliot richardson when asked to fire archibald cox because he made an agreement with the senate that he wouldn't do so except for cause honored his word and as a matter of principle wouldn't do so. here i don't think sessions has made any agreement with the senate that he will be independent. they might want to bring him back and get that kind of pledge out of him. >> very interesting idea. i think there are some democrats trying to make that happen. john dean, as always, a pleasure, thanks for your time tonight. >> thank you, chris. joining me now in studio in new york state, attorney general
eric sni eric schneiderman whose office is joining the aclu with a lawsuit on the ban of freezing refugees. states are another place there's some sort of binding constraint possibly on what the executive does. why are you joining this lawsuit? >> we're joining it because the executive order is flagrantly unconstitutional. >> do you think that? you think it's obviously unconstitutional? >> not only do i think that but 16 attorneys general representing 130 americans signed on to it saying we believe it is constitutional, it will be struck down and we're committing ourselves to protecting innocent people caught in the cross fire between now and the ultimate ruling which we believe will come. four federal district courts in four states have looked at it, every one of them has issued a stay finding one way or the other that there were likely constitutional infirmity. there are different provisions
of this executive order that offend different parts of the constitution and as it works its way through the court we'll have a chance to talk about the fact it doesn't follow the due process clause, violates the establishment cause. it's constitutionally offensive. the way it was rolled out without consul station of the agencies that had to enforce it, the cavalier way it was done reflects such a disregard for the constitution and rule of law that it does give pause to all of us. but salary yates was right all for judges that looked at it were right. this is not a constitutional executive order. the fact that they didn't consult with experts shows in the drafting of the order. >> are you confident that the courts can function in their traditional role? >> so far so good. i mean each of the court has heard it and addressed different parts of the order and have been firm about it.
there are -- i immediately wrote to the department of homeland security. in new york we have a huge immigrant population. this doesn't just hurt immigrants it hurts all new yorkers. we have health care inshugs inconstitutions and institutions of higher learning that depend on immigrants. it's of particular concern to us and the courts have ruled, we contacted immediately -- my office contacted the department of homeland security and customs and border protection and we got a response from them immediately. they said they were complying with the court orders, they wouldn't detain anyone at new york airports. >> that's interesting. they specifically told you that and affirmed that? >> they got right in touch with us, they consulted with the u.s. attorneys who are professional lawyers, this is not a matter of liberal versus conservative, this is a matter of those of us who respect the rule of law and those who do not. it's a different political framework. >> i must point out the same thing i pointed to congressman mo brooks. everyone thinking their reading of the law is the correct one. >> well, i think on this one i
don't see it as much of a close call. this is a very diverse group of judges and there are a.g.s in this group who come from very different states, come from southern states, western states, it's pretty clear to us that this order does not provide due process, it violates the administration of church and state and that it was just hastily crafted and thrown out in a way that shows a disrespect for the constitutional structure. >> eric schneiderman, attorney general of new york state, thanks for being with me. >> thank you. we are back with more after this very short break. do not go anywhere.
transparently but on a lot of things a lot of republicans say we don't think this guy has the temperament to be president, we don't particularly respect him as a person, we don't even agree with him but what we're going to get what we want. we're going to get our supreme court justice, repeal obamacare so if he acts maniacally in certain respects that's okay. we'll take the deal. what do you think of that? >> well, let's look at the cards chuck schumer holds. this is neil gorsuch's night and he was very gracious and humble much like merrick garland was. but the honest truth is this is now a political battle and the substance is not in debate. the justice -- the nominee has been affirmed unanimously by the senate in the past. he won't drift the court much further to the right. he is replacing justice scalia. this is a political battle and i think donald trump might just be leading gorsuch into the political lion's den and the luckiest man in the political world tonight might be judge
hardeman who is the runner-up who might be in waiting should this go down. >> you think the odds are he won't be confirmed? >> listen, if you're chuck schumer you are looking to lay the gauntlet down. you need a win for your base and this is the ultimate win and frankly there is some payback over what happened with merrick garland. merrick garland should have been a hearing and a vote and if republicans wanted to vote him down they should have done so but they should have had the process work. i don't think chuck schumer will work with mitch mcconnell on this and i hope the senate doesn't do the nuclear option. let this play out. less what? hardeman is just as good. the left needs to decide will f they' they'll sink this nominee? >> olivia, hundreds of people are outside chuck schumer's house now and there's almost
this sense in which the garland obstruction means, like, god is dead and all is permitted. >> i think the left is very frustrated and you could see why. >> i don't think the democrats in congress have been tough enough. look at what happened with ben carson. you have people like elizabeth warren voting him through and people are very frustrated? >> they got a huge amount of bash lash over that. >> and the people on the left would say rightfully so so they're taking to the streets to protest the executive orders. i think they'll want them to put up a fight. >> david, what do you think about this? take a look at what david bratt in virginia said about how many citizens are, and i'm quoting him, "up in his grill." >> since obamacare and these issues have come up the women are in my grill. [ laughter ] no matter where i go.
and they come up "when's your next town hall?" and believe me it's not to give positive input. >> what affect does that kind of -- the switch boards being overwhelmed, what affect does that have on a member? >> chris, it's a good point. to be fair, the left planned the protest for 9:00 at the supreme court not knowing who the only in knee was. >> that's right, yes. >> at some point this has to come to an end and we have to be one country because the most important thing -- and i'm a republican who has deep concerns about our current president -- we need an independent judiciary and so we need the cooler heads of the article i authority of the senate to prevail on this one and decide let's get through this. if it is not tonight's nominee we will find another but at some point we've got to rise above the politics or we drift into dangerous territory. >> that argument is not going to persuade a lot of democrats, i think. >> and i disagree completely as a citizen of this country.
this is what we do. we protest when we disagree and i don't think there's any reason for people to be told to come together and support this if they don't believe in it. >> i'm not suggesting support tonight's nominee but don't plan the protest before you know who the nominee is. >> and that is where we are. we're at the point of transparent obstruction on both sides, olivia nuzzi and david jolly, thank you. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening. thanks, my friend. thank you for joining us at this hour. this is a big important historic news day. good to have you here. thank you for watching the news on a night like this and thank you for watching it here. antonin scalia, nino to his friends, he was beloved by his fellow supreme court justices. even the justices who disagreed with h the most, perhaps escially the justices who disagreed with him the most in terms of their day jobs. they loved his